WHAT TO DO IN TOWN
THE PERFECT BACKDROP
Hillsborough is a charming and quaint village in the heart of North Carolina with award winning restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and Southern hospitality.
Local Historic Sites and Museums to Visit:
The Alexander Dickson House - Hillsborough Visitor’s Center
The Visitor's Center, located in the Alexander Dickson House at 150 E. King Street in Hillsborough, offers a variety of historic walking tours. Stop by to get more information about the history of Hillsborough, learn about historic sites to visit, visit the gift shop, pick up a self-guided walking tour book, or an Outlandish Hillsborough T-shirt.
Beginning August 6th - The Hillsborough Visitor's Center will host a knitting circle on Tuesday afternoons, from 1:30pm-3pm. Anyone interested in knitting a shawl similar to one worn by Claire in the Starz Outlander series is invited to join in the fun. An experienced knitter will be on hand to demonstrate and teach the necessary steps to make this beautiful shawl. The helpful and experienced staff at the Hillsborough Yarn Shop will be happy to assist customers in purchasing the appropriate yarn for this timeless project. Wear your completed shawl to Outlander Ayr!
Scottish Independence and American Independence
The North Carolina state legislature met in Hillsborough during the American Revolution. The proposed Constitution was controversial in our state and delegates meeting in Hillsborough in July 1788 initially voted against it, until a Bill of Rights was added.
William Hooper was one of three North Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence and made his home in Hillsborough. The William Hooper Chapter of the DAR will host an exhibit on the Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, and the Scottish influence in those two documents. There were over twenty signers of the Declaration of Independence that were of Scottish descent.
Orange County Historical Museum:
Variety of exhibits focusing on the history of Hillsborough and Orange County, starting with the early Native American settlements and going through the 1950s. Located next to the Old Town Cemetery and down the street from the Burwell School. Located on 201 N. Churton Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
Antebellum all-girls' academy that was open from 1837 until 1857 and run by Anna and Robert Burwell. Over 200 girls attended the school and many others were enslaved there, including Elizabeth Keckly, who went on to become Mary Todd Lincoln's modiste. Located on 319 N. Churton Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
Did you know Hillsborough played an interesting role in our country’s quest for freedom? On Saturday, October 12, from 2-4:30 PM learn more at "A Revolutionary Tasting". Author, Suzanne Adair, will discuss "The Crucial Role of North Carolina During the American Revolution". Following Ms Adair’s talk visitors will be able to view exhibits highlighting the colonial period in North Carolina and Hillsborough. Sample foods that colonists would have introduced to the area such as ciders, chocolate drinks, and alcoholic punch along with sandwiches, breads, pies and other delicious Colonial and Scottish foods. You won’t want to miss it.
Suzanne Adair is the author of several American Revolution mystery books, including the Michael Stoddard series. She is the recipient of the 2018-2019 United Arts Council Professional Development Grant and the winner of the Patrick D. Smith Literature Award. She will sign and sell her books at the event.
Old Orange County Courthouse:
Built in 1844 and served as the seat of Orange County government until 1954, when the new courthouse was built. The courthouse is still in use by the court, but it is free and open to the public. Located on 104 E. King Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278
Outlandish Hillsborough will start off with, of course, a wee bit of piping on the Courthouse lawn Friday night, October 11th.
Bronze plaque marks the exact location where six Regulators were hanged on June 19, 1771. The Regulators were defeated at the Battle of Alamance by Royal Governor Tryon and his troops.
Colonial and Revolutionary War Guided Walking Tour: Experience American Colonial history through the unique perspective of one of North Carolina’s oldest and most historically significant towns with an historic guided walking tour of downtown Hillsborough. Established in 1754 as the seat of government for Orange County, Hillsborough’s colonial legacy and its importance in North Carolina and American history can be seen throughout town. The tour begins at the Hillsborough Visitors Center, located in the eighteenth century Alexander Dickson Farm House, and guides visitors to a variety of historic places from the site of a 1790s African American-owned distillery to the Regulator marker and the grave of one of North Carolina’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. The tour will take place Saturday, October 5th and 12th at 11:00 am and costs $6 per person.
Old Town Cemetery:
Informal records date the cemetery back to 1754 and it is one of the oldest public burial grounds in North Carolina. William Hooper, one of North Carolina's signers of the Declaration of Independence is buried here. Located at 115 E Corbin St, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
Margaret Lane Cemetery:
Originally called the Old Slave Cemetery, this site started as a burial ground for Peter Brown Ruffin’s slaves. The last recorded burial was in 1931. Located at 218 Calvin St, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
Ayr Mount Historic Site:
Ayr Mount is located between the Indian Trading Path and Eno River on property once owned by the Few family: James Few was the first Regulator hanged at Alamance Battleground. In 1799 William Kirkland of Ayr Scotland and his wife Margaret Scott bought 500 acres that included Few’s Tavern. Ayr Mount built in 1815 was home to four generations of the Kirkland family and many enslaved individuals. Tours delve into family history, the enslaved community, plantation life, fine architecture, and museum quality furniture and decorative arts. A special exhibit will run from Sept. 18 through October 20 that features Scottish artifacts, 18th century engravings of Scotland, Scottish immigration patterns, interactions with Native Americans and African Americans, and Scottish curiosities. The Exhibit can be viewed during regularly scheduled tours. Located at 376 St. Mary’s Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
Scottish Connections Exhibit
Featuring Scottish artifacts, 18th century engravings of Scotland, Scottish immigration patterns, interactions with Native Americans and African Americans, and Scottish curiosities this Exhibit will offer a glimpse into life both in Scotland and early America. The Exhibit can be viewed during Guided House Tours and is included in the tour admission fee. Exhibit runs from September 18 through October 20. Guided House Tours are available on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 11 AM and Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM.
ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY:
Orange County’s Main Library is in downtown Hillsborough. Home to the Rebecca B. Wall Local History Collection, the library was built on the site of the Nash-Kollock School, a school for young women that was open in the late 1880s and sits across the street from Hillsborough’s Old Cedar Lane. Today, an active community gathering place, the library fosters fun and lifelong learning where all are welcomed. Located at 137 W. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
Screening and Discussion of Braveheart | Friday, October 11, 2019 from 6:30-9:30pm | Main Library in Hillsborough | Adults
Join us for a special, after hours screening of the film, Braveheart (1995, Rated R) accompanied by a discussion of the factors that led to multiple uprisings of Scots in their homeland throughout history and their subsequent settlement in North Carolina. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is preferred at bit.ly/ocplevent. NOTE: This event is intended for adults. Because it takes place after the library closes, attendees will need to arrive no later than 6:40pm. For more events at OCPL, visit orangecountylibrary.org.
Site where the Battle of Alamance ended the War of Regulation in 1771. Located on 5803 N.C. 62 S, Burlington, NC 27215.